Film / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Help! I'm a turtle and I can't get up!

"Hey, you were expecting maybe, uhh, The Addams Family?"

The third and last live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from the 90s.

When an antique scepter sends April to 1603 Japan, it's up to the turtles to retrieve her and travel back to present day New York before the scepter's powers are gone for good. As they search for the scepter in that time period, they have to contend with an evil British weapons-trader named Walker, because everybody knows all the best villains are British.

Oh, and since both scepters exchange the people holding them between the two time periods, Hilarity Ensues as the misplaced individuals attempt to cope with their strange new surroundings.

This film has the examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: After switching places during time travel, April O' Neil wears Kenshin's samurai outfit in feudal Japan. Later, after escaping from the dungeon with the Turtles, we see her ripping part of the samurai clothing off by the lake while Leo and Donatello are looking.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Lord Norinaga and Captain Walker.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Raph develops this to Yoshi.
  • California Doubling: The film takes place in New York and Ancient Japan, many scenes are actually filmed in China's Hong Kong and in Astoria, Oregon.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Kenshin towards his father.
    Lord Norinaga: Kenshin, I have forbid you for leaving the palace. You have disgraced me.
    Kenshin: It is you who have disgraced me, father. You and your unjust war.
    [Everyone is quiet. Norinaga was about to come down hard on him until Walker arrives.]
  • Can't Take Anything With You: The sceptre doesn't let its users to carry their clothes through time, making them switch their outfits of with the users at the other end. Though, it's a little inconsistent, because April's Walkman and the Turtles, Kenshin and the Honor Guards' weapons were transported with them. Plus, one of the Honor Guards return to his time still wearing the shorts.
  • Canon Foreigner: Everyone except the Turtles, Splinter, April and Casey.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: "This is the worst rescue I've ever had."
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): After Michelangelo rescues Yoshi from the burning house, Leonardo attempts CPR on Yoshi. During this, Mitsu claims he's 'casting an evil spell', but April corrects her that 'he's helping'. It's actually justified, since Yoshi wasn't breathing due to smoke inhalation.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Norinaga isn't pleased with his son's relationship with Mitsu, and the reason he's at war with her.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Mikey, with the scepter, before Walker can throw it off of a roof.
  • Disney Villain Death: Walker's plunge to his watery doom.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Done with a justification. The established rules of time-travel in the movie state that in order to go into the past, the turtles would have to swap places- and uniforms- with whoever is holding the scepter in feudal Japan. It just so happened that the ones in the past were the Daimyo's honor guard. Luckily, the ceremonial samurai masks allow the Turtles to disguise their faces as well. Originally they thought they were gonna be switched with four priests at the palace.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The magic time traveling scepter requirs an equal number of people (of roughly the same weight, which didnít come up) to travel in each direction.
    • And it's a good thing it didn't come up, because the muscle-bound, shell-heavy Turtles and the four lean Samurai must logically have at least 200lbs (probably more) of difference in weight, and April can't possibly come close to Kenshin.
  • Eternal English: Turtles find that everyone they talk to knows English, which had been introduced to Feudal Japan only a few years earlier. And not only that, but we're talking residents of a remote Japanese village. On the flip-side, those four Samurai transported to the future, don't know a word of English.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Michelangelo to Kenshin, after switching places in time with April:
      Michelangelo: How did you get into April's pants?
    • Casey to Kenshin after he breaks a cup in frustration
      Casey Jones: Hey, Ken, yannow, maybe you ought to try a little "herbal", Ken-man, yannow what I mean?
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Michelangelo saves Yoshi from a burning building just before the Turtles are reunited. It convinces Mitsu and the other villagers to trust the Turtles.
  • Horsing Around: Turtles try their hand at horseback riding. They are each in turn thrown off... except for Leonardo, who goes riding off standing on the horse.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Whit says "I think she's telling the truth" to which Walker replies "Really? Well, I don't pay you to think, do I? I pay you to lie, cheat, and steal."
  • Identical Grandson: Turtles meet an ancestor of Casey Jones (and played by the same actor), a British ne'er-do-well stuck in Ancient Japan.
  • In-Name-Only: While not officially confirmed, a review at TMNT Entity suggests it's no coincidence that the movie has so many similarities to the "Masks" two-parter from Volume 1 of the Mirage comics.
    "The time scepter is there! But no Renet because trying to explain her history might cost too much. Feudal Japan is there! But no giant lizard men because that sort of costume would be too expensive. Thereís an evil shogun! Except heís not a demonic creature because we gotta think about the bottom line, people."
  • Interspecies Romance: Develops between Michelangelo and Mitsu.
    Michelangelo: But, I want to stay here... with you.
    Mitsu: You will always be here with me, Michelangelo.
  • Kill 'em All: Walker decides to kill the rebels since Norinaga is complaining about his dungeon being crowded. He even says this. Splinter even senses it.
  • The Mole: The rebels have one (a priest) in Norinaga's palace. He saw Norinaga agree to Walker's deal of using guns.
  • Not So Above It All: Straight-laced Master Splinter, once again, shows that he's not above making the occasional joke like the turtles while wearing lampshade.
    Splinter: Yo, dude! Like Elvis in Blue Hawaii!
  • Numbered Sequels: With no subtitle this time around.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Mitsu was about to shoot an arrow at either Whit or April. Raph stops her, which surprised her since apparently Norinaga's Honor Guards would never save or help an English person. Also, he spoke English, which none of the Honor Guards can.
  • Rebel Prince: Kenshin.
    Walker: Children can be such a pest. Especially when they're friends with the enemy.
  • Reverse Grip: Mitsu holds her dagger this way.
  • San Dimas Time: The Time Traveling scepter (in the present) only has enough power to work 5 times in 60 hours, after which it is destroyed, rendering even the fully intact scepter in 1603 Japan useless as well.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: The film ups the ante by taking place in ancient Japan. Of course, Turtles are ninjas.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Addams Family line quoted above. It was probably supposed to be a Take That at Addams Family Values, a sequel to the first Addams Family movie that was coming out the same year as Ninja Turtles III, but even with that kind of context it makes no sense, especially since Donny is asking this to a group of guards in 1603 Japan.
    • "Help, I'm a turtle and I can't get up!"
    • "Ok, go ahead punk, make my day!"
    • "Whoa, leg-o-rama! Schwing!"
  • Team Title
  • Title Drop: Thos is how the Turtles refer to themselves.
    Walker: What kind of demons are you?
    Leonardo: We're Turtles, friend.
    Donatello: ...of the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety, sleazeball.
  • Underside Ride: The Turtles do this using a wagon to sneak into the daimyo's palace. Of course, they were already Dressing as the Enemy, but wanted to stay out of contact with the daimyo to avoid a case of Spot the Imposter.